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John Murphy On Rupert Murdoch: We Are Not Frightened Of You

The Federal Labor member for Reid, John Murphy, has attacked Rupert Murdoch in a speech to the House of Representatives.

Speaking in the Adjournment Debate, Murphy described journalism in Murdoch’s News Limited newspapers as “tripe”. Murphy said “it fits Mr Murdoch’s political and business agenda to knock this Labor government”.

He said: “Everyone knows you twist the political agenda to suit your business agenda and in so doing you crush and corrupt our democracy. We are not frightened of you and we will not surrender to your massive media power.”

Murphy was first elected as the member for the NSW seat of Lowe in 1998. Following a redistribution, he became the member for Reid in 2010. Now on a margin of 2.7%, he is facing defeat at this year’s election.

  • Listen to Murphy’s speech (5m)
  • Watch an extract of the speech (34s)

Hansard transcript of John Murphy MP in the Adjournment Debate in the House of Representatives, June 6, 2013.

MurphyMr MURPHY (Reid) (16:33): On 11 June 2013, Mr Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation will hold a special meeting for shareholders to vote on amendments needed to authorise the company’s plan to break into two separate publicly traded entities, dividing its newspaper and book publishing assets from its television and film business. The publishing unit, which will retain the News Corporation name, will include Wall Street Journal owner Dow Jones and Mr Murdoch’s other newspapers, including the New York Post and The Australian. The film business will be called 21st Century Fox and includes News Corporation’s 39.1 per cent stake in BSkyB, the 20th Century Fox film and TV studio, the Fox broadcast network and cable channels including Fox News. The split will most likely take effect on 30 June 2013, the end of the company’s fiscal year. Mr Murdoch will serve as chair of both companies and the chief executive of 21st Century Fox, Robert Thomson, former managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, will be chief executive of News Corporation.

Today I read more tripe in The Daily Telegraph. This is not quality journalism—not by any stretch of the imagination or by any measure of journalistic standards. No wonder the circulations of newspapers are going down. Advertisement figures are down, circulation is down, and Mr Murdoch is hitting the panic button. Mr Murdoch is now in Australia to administer the latest poison pill. Next week he will flag through the separation of his profitable entertainment business and the underperforming newspapers. But you will not be reading the real agenda in The Daily Telegraph or The Australian. They have to look after their master. They cannot talk about job cuts or how Mr Murdoch is trying to siphon away his profitable asset and kill off anything that is not making money. Well, I have some advice for Mr Murdoch: if he wants to cut more costs out of his unprofitable assets, he can start right here and get rid of this tripe.

But let’s be realistic: he will not. Expect more tripe. Expect more stories about reporters falling into pot plants and/or almost knocking politicians over. It was not meant as a serious report—just one to ridicule a politician, and not just any politician, mind you, but a Labor politician. Why? Because it fits Mr Murdoch’s political and business agenda to knock this Labor government. Make no mistake: Mr Murdoch’s political and business agenda are one and the same. If it is good for Mr Murdoch’s business, he will support it. If it is bad, he will knock it down and destroy it. If citizenship gets in the way of business expediency, he will trade it in for another. If a newspaper and its staff get caught up in a phone-hacking scandal, do not expect Mr Murdoch to accept personal responsibility. He will blame the journalists, blame the editors, blame everyone else and then shut the newspaper down.

Australian employees of Mr Murdoch should not expect a better response when their turn to face the axe comes, and it will come soon. Why? Because it is expedient for business. The financial bottom line comes first and foremost, ahead of all else. The standard of tripe reflects Mr Murdoch’s standards. He is not interested in the content as such, but the editors know what is expected. That is why the News of the World scandal happened in the United Kingdom. Everyone knew what was expected. What they did not count on was that they would be the fall guys for a bigger picture—a picture that had room for one man alone.

I exhort everyone to read Mr Murdoch’s own words in George Beahm’s The Sun King—Rupert Murdoch. Read Man Bites Murdoch by Bruce Guthrie. Read Robert Manne’s ‘Bad News: Murdoch’s Australian and the Shaping of the Nation’ in Quarterly Essay and read Dial M for Murdoch: News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain by Tom Watson MP and Martin Hickman to gain insight into the brutal influence Mr Murdoch holds over our democracy, not to mention in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. And, finally, read Michael Wolff’s ‘Murdoch tries for new legacy’ in USA TODAY of 2 June 2013.

How dare Rupert Murdoch tweet: ‘Oz polls show nothing can save this miserable government. Election cannot come soon enough. People decided and tuned out months ago.’ The reason people tune out, Mr Murdoch, is because of the tripe served up in your tabloids and your cross-promotion of that tripe. Everyone knows you twist the political agenda to suit your business agenda and in so doing you crush and corrupt our democracy. We are not frightened of you and we will not surrender to your massive media power encapsulated in your tweet.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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